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Re: Do nothing

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  • Jeff
    Thank you for the wonderful post John!! I was wondering if you could publish to the forum all 200 species you have at your place. Especially annual vs
    Message 1 of 11 , May 13, 2007
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      Thank you for the wonderful post John!!

      I was wondering if you could publish to the forum all 200 species you
      have at your place. Especially annual vs perrenial and also include
      notes about any self-seeding varieties.

      This would be an incredible resource for those seeking to get into
      this type of gardening/farming.
    • Jamie Nicol
      Dear John, good to see you back here again! There s much I could respond to in your email, so many significant directions from someone who obviously cares
      Message 2 of 11 , May 14, 2007
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        Dear John, good to see you back here again!

        There's much I could respond to in your email, so many significant
        directions from someone who obviously cares deeply about anything and
        everything. But as this is Fukuoka_Farming it is probably better to stick to
        the practice.

        But how can there be 'practice' in do-nothing?

        But then again I believe we both have raised beds, seed and transplant
        annually and seasonally, irrigate, weed, and I'm sure 10,000 other things
        too! Practice, practice, practice...

        What is do-nothing then?

        When I concentrate on my breath I find that I can control it, perhaps if I
        worked at it I could control it for long periods. But, then, these periods
        are only the tiniest fraction of my life and by far the greatest control
        over my breath takes place without me even being aware of it. It seems to me
        that NF is like breathing, we can spend much time on the practice of
        farming, but nature far outweighs anything we can do. do-nothing for me is
        the recognition that my attempts at control will never yield the harvests I
        intend and that, therefore, I must relinquish control to nature.

        So I now try not to dig beds at all, seed but not transplant, seed
        everything I can get my hands on, especially those that will reseed
        themselves annually, irrigate only when forced to by drought, leave no earth
        bare (both above ground and below), harvest a fraction of the plants
        growing, never weed by pulling (just cut the volunteer at the moment it
        flowers), return volunteer or unused crop to beds, use anything growing
        nearby as mulch for the beds, always leave volunteer leguminous plants
        (nitrogen fixing), leave some native leguminous trees or fruit trees or
        shrubs (trees are the prerequisite for a mediterranean natural
        agriculture)...

        do-nothing seems to me to be about giving up any control and beginning to
        play with nature. Not caring what grows (for if there are enough seeds,
        irrespective of the weather, the soil will be covered by growth), just
        casting seeds and watching what happens.

        Is this a business? No.
        Can it become a business? Yes - there really are enough edible (and
        marketable) veg for a mediterranean climate (rain in spring and autumn -
        600mm/year). The limiting factor right now is the time it takes to clear the
        land for seeding.

        But, then, we already knew all of this because it is just what Fukuoka has
        already done.

        Here are a few of the veg that reseed themselves or are natives already
        growing: asparagus, artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke, cardoon, swiss chard and
        other leaf beets, beetroot, borage (it is too dry for comfrey, but borage is
        from the same family and grows prolifically), chicory, mache (miner's
        lettuce?), lettuce (there is much cross pollination but the new varieties
        while being smaller are very tasty), coriander (cilantro), rocket, mint,
        sage, lavender, thyme, rosemary, most radishes (there are many good, long
        radishes to seed if you can't get daikon), tomato, aubergine, peppers (these
        are borderline as they require more water than the two previous), marigold
        (calendular), tagetes, it is too dry for nasturtiums, water melon (they are
        small but they do grow well), cucumber, and some other cucurbits (see what
        works for you), parsnips, celery (small but have very strong flavour) and
        then there are the cereal crops like winter and summer wheat and barley,
        millet, amaranth and in good years maize.

        These are only a few, please add to the list if you can. I'll try and make a
        more detailed list when I'm in the garden next time.

        Jamie
        Souscayrous





        On 5/13/07, John Warner <daddyoat@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hello Jamie and Fukuoka List Members,
        >
        > Thanks, Jamie for the very significant question--a question to which I'm
        > very pleased to respond.
        >
        > First, I might say that "do nothing" is an overstatement. Overstatement is
        > deeply rooted in Eastern philosophy as seen particularly in the Tao Te Ching
        > with respect to leadership, the emphasis of non-action over taking action
        > and not meddling with the natural flow of things. It was Dante, perhaps,
        > that gave Christianity the Mortal Sins [the first being pride], for a Sufi
        > the greatest sin may be to forget God but a philosophical Taoist might make
        > a good case for saying that the worst human being of all is a "cunning
        > meddler". Taoism, as I understand it, had a very strong influence on some of
        > the branches of Buddhism that reached Japan and I suspect that this is
        > background to Mr. Fukuoka's philosophy. Overstatement is a literary
        > technique and one I'm personally inclined to use myself--after all what good
        > would writing be that, however technically correct, was uninspiring?
        >
        > It's in modern systems theory [and the disciplines sometimes referred to
        > as the "new sciences"] where the scientist meets the Taoist philosopher and
        > says "hello". This is reflected in books such as "The Tao of Physics" and
        > "The Dancing Wu Lu Masters" and a number of others that have been published
        > over the past 50 years of so. A book that particularly influenced me was
        > Fritjof Capra's "The Turning Point" published in the 80s.
        >
        > Whole Systems Agriculture is a reflection of this union. Please visit our
        > website where reference is made to this particularly, as I recall, in the
        > section on species complexity. Also on the website is a paper by Dr. Joe
        > Lewis and others, titled "A Total Systems Approach to Sustainable Pest
        > Management" which gives a lot of theoretical information on how, with
        > sufficient complexity, pest management can take care of itself--at least to
        > a large extent. Examples from our farm follow.
        >
        > Last year we had record breaking heat--three days of 113F and a number of
        > others well over 100F. Shortly afterward aphids hit all our beans like a
        > whammy. We were experimenting with a number of old varieties like "Christmas
        > Lima", "Willow-Leaf Lima", and some from Native Seed Search with long names
        > I can't recall at the moment. But they all got it--absolutely dripping with
        > honeydew. The infestation was so bad I had to compromise with my philosophy
        > of non-intervention and I sprayed a solution of dish detergent.but it was
        > to little avail. But Lo! In a couple of weeks lady bird beetle larvae, and
        > later of course adults, began to appear.and eventually got thick enough to
        > clean up most of the plants. But by that time the beans had been critically
        > set back and a good part of the crop was lost.
        >
        > So I've woven a little theory on this. During the heat wave it got so hot
        > and dry that the lady bird beetle population took a big hit. [I recall my
        > old entomology professor asking rhetorically "what's the most common disease
        > of insects?". Answer: "lack of water". Well, the heat wave might have set
        > back all the insect life but, as we know, plant eaters, and aphids in
        > particular, are real champs at reproduction. In fact, in the early stages of
        > the aphid population cycle, they don't even have to bother with having sex.
        > Only females hatch who reproduce parthogenically [that is, they clone
        > themselves]. This resulted in an explosion the beetles couldn't keep up
        > with.
        >
        > The above, although it resulted in a loss [still, some beans got
        > harvested] it illustrates the do-nothing principles I'm talking about.
        >
        > We're looking at nature's self-organizing principle at work. For this to
        > work there needs to be a lot of complexity Next week, the Agricultural
        > Inspector will be coming for her annual visit to see if we are actually
        > growing all the things we sell at the farmers market. On the forms required,
        > I listed nearly 200 species--lumping, for the most part, varieties and
        > colors together. This does not include the plants we don't sell but have set
        > out and about for esthetic reasons and also as habitat for beneficials. Lots
        > of shrubs here--brooms, acacias, privet and the champ of fast growth:
        > butterfly bush. We have perhaps 30 oaks. [Jamie, a couple of these came from
        > acorns you sent from France--thanks again.]. Mostly we have holly and cork
        > oaks.
        >
        > I now have 2 sons that support themselves completely from their work on
        > our little farm. I hold this up in support of the efficacy of our theory and
        > our practice. One harvests and sells at the markets while the other works
        > with me on production. How do they find their places, their niches, in the
        > work on the farm? In the same way skunks find chicken pens and hollow
        > logs--that is by the principles of self-organization. Or perhaps you could
        > think of it as do-nothing management on my part.
        >
        > Sorry about a rather poor job of editing this. There's lots to do outside.
        > But please visit our website for more about our work and read, if you're
        > inclined, Dr. Lewis' important paper. Dr. Lewis and Mr. Fukukoka may not
        > know of each other but if they met I suspect they'd find some common ground.
        >
        > Good wishes all,
        >
        > John Warner, Madera Whole Systems Agriculture near Fresno, California
        > No-tractor, no tillage, permanent mulch market growers since 1996
        > http://www.wholesystemsag.org
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Dieter Brand
        Jamie, You live in a very favourable climate. Where I live there are no edible annuals that will reseed without irrigation. Even with irrigation, reseeding
        Message 3 of 11 , May 14, 2007
        • 0 Attachment
          Jamie,

          You live in a very favourable climate. Where I live there are no edible annuals
          that will reseed without irrigation. Even with irrigation, reseeding doesn’t
          work very well, since without a selection of seeds, the variety will usually
          deteriorate, that is, supposing the seeds aren’t eaten by some animal
          before the next growing season, which is usually the case. And to waste
          precious irrigation water and time in the vague hope that something will
          come up is hardly sensible.

          Dieter Brand
          Portugal

          Jamie Nicol <souscayrous@...> wrote:
          ...
          Here are a few of the veg that reseed themselves or are natives already
          growing: asparagus, artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke, cardoon, swiss chard and
          other leaf beets, beetroot, borage (it is too dry for comfrey, but borage is
          from the same family and grows prolifically), chicory, mache (miner's
          lettuce?), lettuce (there is much cross pollination but the new varieties
          while being smaller are very tasty), coriander (cilantro), rocket, mint,
          sage, lavender, thyme, rosemary, most radishes (there are many good, long
          radishes to seed if you can't get daikon), tomato, aubergine, peppers (these
          are borderline as they require more water than the two previous), marigold
          (calendular), tagetes, it is too dry for nasturtiums, water melon (they are
          small but they do grow well), cucumber, and some other cucurbits (see what
          works for you), parsnips, celery (small but have very strong flavour) and
          then there are the cereal crops like winter and summer wheat and barley,
          millet, amaranth and in good years maize.

          These are only a few, please add to the list if you can. I'll try and make a
          more detailed list when I'm in the garden next time.

          Jamie
          Souscayrous

          On 5/13/07, John Warner <daddyoat@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hello Jamie and Fukuoka List Members,
          >
          > Thanks, Jamie for the very significant question--a question to which I'm
          > very pleased to respond.
          >
          > First, I might say that "do nothing" is an overstatement. Overstatement is
          > deeply rooted in Eastern philosophy as seen particularly in the Tao Te Ching
          > with respect to leadership, the emphasis of non-action over taking action
          > and not meddling with the natural flow of things. It was Dante, perhaps,
          > that gave Christianity the Mortal Sins [the first being pride], for a Sufi
          > the greatest sin may be to forget God but a philosophical Taoist might make
          > a good case for saying that the worst human being of all is a "cunning
          > meddler". Taoism, as I understand it, had a very strong influence on some of
          > the branches of Buddhism that reached Japan and I suspect that this is
          > background to Mr. Fukuoka's philosophy. Overstatement is a literary
          > technique and one I'm personally inclined to use myself--after all what good
          > would writing be that, however technically correct, was uninspiring?
          >
          > It's in modern systems theory [and the disciplines sometimes referred to
          > as the "new sciences"] where the scientist meets the Taoist philosopher and
          > says "hello". This is reflected in books such as "The Tao of Physics" and
          > "The Dancing Wu Lu Masters" and a number of others that have been published
          > over the past 50 years of so. A book that particularly influenced me was
          > Fritjof Capra's "The Turning Point" published in the 80s.
          >
          > Whole Systems Agriculture is a reflection of this union. Please visit our
          > website where reference is made to this particularly, as I recall, in the
          > section on species complexity. Also on the website is a paper by Dr. Joe
          > Lewis and others, titled "A Total Systems Approach to Sustainable Pest
          > Management" which gives a lot of theoretical information on how, with
          > sufficient complexity, pest management can take care of itself--at least to
          > a large extent. Examples from our farm follow.
          >
          > Last year we had record breaking heat--three days of 113F and a number of
          > others well over 100F. Shortly afterward aphids hit all our beans like a
          > whammy. We were experimenting with a number of old varieties like "Christmas
          > Lima", "Willow-Leaf Lima", and some from Native Seed Search with long names
          > I can't recall at the moment. But they all got it--absolutely dripping with
          > honeydew. The infestation was so bad I had to compromise with my philosophy
          > of non-intervention and I sprayed a solution of dish detergent.but it was
          > to little avail. But Lo! In a couple of weeks lady bird beetle larvae, and
          > later of course adults, began to appear.and eventually got thick enough to
          > clean up most of the plants. But by that time the beans had been critically
          > set back and a good part of the crop was lost.
          >
          > So I've woven a little theory on this. During the heat wave it got so hot
          > and dry that the lady bird beetle population took a big hit. [I recall my
          > old entomology professor asking rhetorically "what's the most common disease
          > of insects?". Answer: "lack of water". Well, the heat wave might have set
          > back all the insect life but, as we know, plant eaters, and aphids in
          > particular, are real champs at reproduction. In fact, in the early stages of
          > the aphid population cycle, they don't even have to bother with having sex.
          > Only females hatch who reproduce parthogenically [that is, they clone
          > themselves]. This resulted in an explosion the beetles couldn't keep up
          > with.
          >
          > The above, although it resulted in a loss [still, some beans got
          > harvested] it illustrates the do-nothing principles I'm talking about.
          >
          > We're looking at nature's self-organizing principle at work. For this to
          > work there needs to be a lot of complexity Next week, the Agricultural
          > Inspector will be coming for her annual visit to see if we are actually
          > growing all the things we sell at the farmers market. On the forms required,
          > I listed nearly 200 species--lumping, for the most part, varieties and
          > colors together. This does not include the plants we don't sell but have set
          > out and about for esthetic reasons and also as habitat for beneficials. Lots
          > of shrubs here--brooms, acacias, privet and the champ of fast growth:
          > butterfly bush. We have perhaps 30 oaks. [Jamie, a couple of these came from
          > acorns you sent from France--thanks again.]. Mostly we have holly and cork
          > oaks.
          >
          > I now have 2 sons that support themselves completely from their work on
          > our little farm. I hold this up in support of the efficacy of our theory and
          > our practice. One harvests and sells at the markets while the other works
          > with me on production. How do they find their places, their niches, in the
          > work on the farm? In the same way skunks find chicken pens and hollow
          > logs--that is by the principles of self-organization. Or perhaps you could
          > think of it as do-nothing management on my part.
          >
          > Sorry about a rather poor job of editing this. There's lots to do outside.
          > But please visit our website for more about our work and read, if you're
          > inclined, Dr. Lewis' important paper. Dr. Lewis and Mr. Fukukoka may not
          > know of each other but if they met I suspect they'd find some common ground.
          >
          > Good wishes all,
          >
          > John Warner, Madera Whole Systems Agriculture near Fresno, California
          > No-tractor, no tillage, permanent mulch market growers since 1996
          > http://www.wholesystemsag.org
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






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        • Robert Monie
          HI Dieter, The olla or ancient clay pot system of watering can still work well in many locations and gardens. A ceramicist in Australia has designed an
          Message 4 of 11 , May 18, 2007
          • 0 Attachment
            HI Dieter,

            The olla or ancient clay pot system of watering can still work well in many locations and gardens. A ceramicist in Australia has designed an "upscale" version of these that I have seen used in the Orinda/Berkeley area of California, but much cheaper and probably equally effective models can be built. See http://www.wateringsystems.net

            Some modern engineers have been especially attracted to the hows and whys of ancient watering systems. One notable engineer is Kenneth R. Wright; among his many investigations of ancient water-sparing irrigation systems are the following:

            Water for the Anasazi: How the Ancients of Mesa Verde Engineered Public Works

            Burried Clay Pot Irrigation

            Water Masters of Mesa Verde

            Tipon: Water Engineering Masterpieces of the Inca Empire

            Machu Picchu: A Civil Engineering Marvel

            Bob Monie
            New Orleans, LA


            brand@...> wrote:
            Jamie,

            You live in a very favourable climate. Where I live there are no edible annuals
            that will reseed without irrigation. Even with irrigation, reseeding doesn’t
            work very well, since without a selection of seeds, the variety will usually
            deteriorate, that is, supposing the seeds aren’t eaten by some animal
            before the next growing season, which is usually the case. And to waste
            precious irrigation water and time in the vague hope that something will
            come up is hardly sensible.

            Dieter Brand
            Portugal

            Jamie Nicol <souscayrous@...> wrote:
            ...
            Here are a few of the veg that reseed themselves or are natives already
            growing: asparagus, artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke, cardoon, swiss chard and
            other leaf beets, beetroot, borage (it is too dry for comfrey, but borage is
            from the same family and grows prolifically), chicory, mache (miner's
            lettuce?), lettuce (there is much cross pollination but the new varieties
            while being smaller are very tasty), coriander (cilantro), rocket, mint,
            sage, lavender, thyme, rosemary, most radishes (there are many good, long
            radishes to seed if you can't get daikon), tomato, aubergine, peppers (these
            are borderline as they require more water than the two previous), marigold
            (calendular), tagetes, it is too dry for nasturtiums, water melon (they are
            small but they do grow well), cucumber, and some other cucurbits (see what
            works for you), parsnips, celery (small but have very strong flavour) and
            then there are the cereal crops like winter and summer wheat and barley,
            millet, amaranth and in good years maize.

            These are only a few, please add to the list if you can. I'll try and make a
            more detailed list when I'm in the garden next time.

            Jamie
            Souscayrous

            On 5/13/07, John Warner <daddyoat@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hello Jamie and Fukuoka List Members,
            >
            > Thanks, Jamie for the very significant question--a question to which I'm
            > very pleased to respond.
            >
            > First, I might say that "do nothing" is an overstatement. Overstatement is
            > deeply rooted in Eastern philosophy as seen particularly in the Tao Te Ching
            > with respect to leadership, the emphasis of non-action over taking action
            > and not meddling with the natural flow of things. It was Dante, perhaps,
            > that gave Christianity the Mortal Sins [the first being pride], for a Sufi
            > the greatest sin may be to forget God but a philosophical Taoist might make
            > a good case for saying that the worst human being of all is a "cunning
            > meddler". Taoism, as I understand it, had a very strong influence on some of
            > the branches of Buddhism that reached Japan and I suspect that this is
            > background to Mr. Fukuoka's philosophy. Overstatement is a literary
            > technique and one I'm personally inclined to use myself--after all what good
            > would writing be that, however technically correct, was uninspiring?
            >
            > It's in modern systems theory [and the disciplines sometimes referred to
            > as the "new sciences"] where the scientist meets the Taoist philosopher and
            > says "hello". This is reflected in books such as "The Tao of Physics" and
            > "The Dancing Wu Lu Masters" and a number of others that have been published
            > over the past 50 years of so. A book that particularly influenced me was
            > Fritjof Capra's "The Turning Point" published in the 80s.
            >
            > Whole Systems Agriculture is a reflection of this union. Please visit our
            > website where reference is made to this particularly, as I recall, in the
            > section on species complexity. Also on the website is a paper by Dr. Joe
            > Lewis and others, titled "A Total Systems Approach to Sustainable Pest
            > Management" which gives a lot of theoretical information on how, with
            > sufficient complexity, pest management can take care of itself--at least to
            > a large extent. Examples from our farm follow.
            >
            > Last year we had record breaking heat--three days of 113F and a number of
            > others well over 100F. Shortly afterward aphids hit all our beans like a
            > whammy. We were experimenting with a number of old varieties like "Christmas
            > Lima", "Willow-Leaf Lima", and some from Native Seed Search with long names
            > I can't recall at the moment. But they all got it--absolutely dripping with
            > honeydew. The infestation was so bad I had to compromise with my philosophy
            > of non-intervention and I sprayed a solution of dish detergent.but it was
            > to little avail. But Lo! In a couple of weeks lady bird beetle larvae, and
            > later of course adults, began to appear.and eventually got thick enough to
            > clean up most of the plants. But by that time the beans had been critically
            > set back and a good part of the crop was lost.
            >
            > So I've woven a little theory on this. During the heat wave it got so hot
            > and dry that the lady bird beetle population took a big hit. [I recall my
            > old entomology professor asking rhetorically "what's the most common disease
            > of insects?". Answer: "lack of water". Well, the heat wave might have set
            > back all the insect life but, as we know, plant eaters, and aphids in
            > particular, are real champs at reproduction. In fact, in the early stages of
            > the aphid population cycle, they don't even have to bother with having sex.
            > Only females hatch who reproduce parthogenically [that is, they clone
            > themselves]. This resulted in an explosion the beetles couldn't keep up
            > with.
            >
            > The above, although it resulted in a loss [still, some beans got
            > harvested] it illustrates the do-nothing principles I'm talking about.
            >
            > We're looking at nature's self-organizing principle at work. For this to
            > work there needs to be a lot of complexity Next week, the Agricultural
            > Inspector will be coming for her annual visit to see if we are actually
            > growing all the things we sell at the farmers market. On the forms required,
            > I listed nearly 200 species--lumping, for the most part, varieties and
            > colors together. This does not include the plants we don't sell but have set
            > out and about for esthetic reasons and also as habitat for beneficials. Lots
            > of shrubs here--brooms, acacias, privet and the champ of fast growth:
            > butterfly bush. We have perhaps 30 oaks. [Jamie, a couple of these came from
            > acorns you sent from France--thanks again.]. Mostly we have holly and cork
            > oaks.
            >
            > I now have 2 sons that support themselves completely from their work on
            > our little farm. I hold this up in support of the efficacy of our theory and
            > our practice. One harvests and sells at the markets while the other works
            > with me on production. How do they find their places, their niches, in the
            > work on the farm? In the same way skunks find chicken pens and hollow
            > logs--that is by the principles of self-organization. Or perhaps you could
            > think of it as do-nothing management on my part.
            >
            > Sorry about a rather poor job of editing this. There's lots to do outside.
            > But please visit our website for more about our work and read, if you're
            > inclined, Dr. Lewis' important paper. Dr. Lewis and Mr. Fukukoka may not
            > know of each other but if they met I suspect they'd find some common ground.
            >
            > Good wishes all,
            >
            > John Warner, Madera Whole Systems Agriculture near Fresno, California
            > No-tractor, no tillage, permanent mulch market growers since 1996
            > http://www.wholesystemsag.org
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
            >

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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          • Dieter Brand
            Bob, Thanks for the clay pot idea. Hadn’t heard of that one before. It may, however, be a little difficult to get porous clay pots releasing just the right
            Message 5 of 11 , May 19, 2007
            • 0 Attachment
              Bob,

              Thanks for the clay pot idea. Hadn’t heard of that one before. It may,
              however, be a little difficult to get porous clay pots releasing just the
              right amount of water.

              I live in a semi-arid zone - not a drop of rain from May through September with
              temperatures of up to 40 deg C in the July/August period. Therefore, water
              is the limiting factor in everything I do. In the last few years I have been able
              to reduce irrigation by about 80% mainly by converting to no-till and adding
              compost and mulch to the top. I also chucked out all that fancy irrigation
              equipment including sprinklers, mini-sprinklers, drip systems, etc. Now
              I’m only using an open watering hose modulating the water jet with my
              thumb into a film softly landing on the heavily mulched soil. Perhaps old
              man Fukuoka was right after all when he admonished us to "think about
              what you can do less".

              Dieter Brand
              Portugal

              Robert Monie <bobm20001@...> wrote:
              HI Dieter,

              The olla or ancient clay pot system of watering can still work well in many locations and gardens. A ceramicist in Australia has designed an "upscale" version of these that I have seen used in the Orinda/Berkeley area of California, but much cheaper and probably equally effective models can be built. See http://www.wateringsystems.net

              Some modern engineers have been especially attracted to the hows and whys of ancient watering systems. One notable engineer is Kenneth R. Wright; among his many investigations of ancient water-sparing irrigation systems are the following:

              Water for the Anasazi: How the Ancients of Mesa Verde Engineered Public Works

              Burried Clay Pot Irrigation

              Water Masters of Mesa Verde

              Tipon: Water Engineering Masterpieces of the Inca Empire

              Machu Picchu: A Civil Engineering Marvel

              Bob Monie
              New Orleans, LA


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            • Gloria C. Baikauskas
              Dieter, Have you read Albrecht s, The Myth of Drought? It can be read at http://www.soilandhealth.org The more organic material you have in and on the soil
              Message 6 of 11 , May 19, 2007
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                Dieter, Have you read Albrecht's, The Myth of Drought? It can be
                read at http://www.soilandhealth.org

                The more organic material you have in and on the soil the more
                moisture the soil will hold.
                Gloria, Texas

                --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Dieter Brand <diebrand@...>
                wrote:
                >
                > Jamie,
                >
                > You live in a very favourable climate. Where I live there are no
                edible annuals
                > that will reseed without irrigation. Even with irrigation,
                reseeding doesn't
                > work very well, since without a selection of seeds, the variety
                will usually
                > deteriorate, that is, supposing the seeds aren't eaten by some
                animal
                > before the next growing season, which is usually the case. And
                to waste
                > precious irrigation water and time in the vague hope that
                something will
                > come up is hardly sensible.
                >
                > Dieter Brand
                > Portugal
                >
                > Jamie Nicol <souscayrous@...> wrote:
                > ...
                > Here are a few of the veg that reseed themselves or are natives
                already
                > growing: asparagus, artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke, cardoon, swiss
                chard and
                > other leaf beets, beetroot, borage (it is too dry for comfrey, but
                borage is
                > from the same family and grows prolifically), chicory, mache
                (miner's
                > lettuce?), lettuce (there is much cross pollination but the new
                varieties
                > while being smaller are very tasty), coriander (cilantro), rocket,
                mint,
                > sage, lavender, thyme, rosemary, most radishes (there are many
                good, long
                > radishes to seed if you can't get daikon), tomato, aubergine,
                peppers (these
                > are borderline as they require more water than the two previous),
                marigold
                > (calendular), tagetes, it is too dry for nasturtiums, water melon
                (they are
                > small but they do grow well), cucumber, and some other cucurbits
                (see what
                > works for you), parsnips, celery (small but have very strong
                flavour) and
                > then there are the cereal crops like winter and summer wheat and
                barley,
                > millet, amaranth and in good years maize.
                >
                > These are only a few, please add to the list if you can. I'll try
                and make a
                > more detailed list when I'm in the garden next time.
                >
                > Jamie
                > Souscayrous
                >
                > On 5/13/07, John Warner <daddyoat@...> wrote:
                > >
                > > Hello Jamie and Fukuoka List Members,
                > >
                > > Thanks, Jamie for the very significant question--a question to
                which I'm
                > > very pleased to respond.
                > >
                > > First, I might say that "do nothing" is an overstatement.
                Overstatement is
                > > deeply rooted in Eastern philosophy as seen particularly in the
                Tao Te Ching
                > > with respect to leadership, the emphasis of non-action over
                taking action
                > > and not meddling with the natural flow of things. It was Dante,
                perhaps,
                > > that gave Christianity the Mortal Sins [the first being pride],
                for a Sufi
                > > the greatest sin may be to forget God but a philosophical Taoist
                might make
                > > a good case for saying that the worst human being of all is
                a "cunning
                > > meddler". Taoism, as I understand it, had a very strong influence
                on some of
                > > the branches of Buddhism that reached Japan and I suspect that
                this is
                > > background to Mr. Fukuoka's philosophy. Overstatement is a
                literary
                > > technique and one I'm personally inclined to use myself--after
                all what good
                > > would writing be that, however technically correct, was
                uninspiring?
                > >
                > > It's in modern systems theory [and the disciplines sometimes
                referred to
                > > as the "new sciences"] where the scientist meets the Taoist
                philosopher and
                > > says "hello". This is reflected in books such as "The Tao of
                Physics" and
                > > "The Dancing Wu Lu Masters" and a number of others that have been
                published
                > > over the past 50 years of so. A book that particularly influenced
                me was
                > > Fritjof Capra's "The Turning Point" published in the 80s.
                > >
                > > Whole Systems Agriculture is a reflection of this union. Please
                visit our
                > > website where reference is made to this particularly, as I
                recall, in the
                > > section on species complexity. Also on the website is a paper by
                Dr. Joe
                > > Lewis and others, titled "A Total Systems Approach to Sustainable
                Pest
                > > Management" which gives a lot of theoretical information on how,
                with
                > > sufficient complexity, pest management can take care of itself--
                at least to
                > > a large extent. Examples from our farm follow.
                > >
                > > Last year we had record breaking heat--three days of 113F and a
                number of
                > > others well over 100F. Shortly afterward aphids hit all our beans
                like a
                > > whammy. We were experimenting with a number of old varieties
                like "Christmas
                > > Lima", "Willow-Leaf Lima", and some from Native Seed Search with
                long names
                > > I can't recall at the moment. But they all got it--absolutely
                dripping with
                > > honeydew. The infestation was so bad I had to compromise with my
                philosophy
                > > of non-intervention and I sprayed a solution of dish
                detergent.but it was
                > > to little avail. But Lo! In a couple of weeks lady bird beetle
                larvae, and
                > > later of course adults, began to appear.and eventually got thick
                enough to
                > > clean up most of the plants. But by that time the beans had been
                critically
                > > set back and a good part of the crop was lost.
                > >
                > > So I've woven a little theory on this. During the heat wave it
                got so hot
                > > and dry that the lady bird beetle population took a big hit. [I
                recall my
                > > old entomology professor asking rhetorically "what's the most
                common disease
                > > of insects?". Answer: "lack of water". Well, the heat wave might
                have set
                > > back all the insect life but, as we know, plant eaters, and
                aphids in
                > > particular, are real champs at reproduction. In fact, in the
                early stages of
                > > the aphid population cycle, they don't even have to bother with
                having sex.
                > > Only females hatch who reproduce parthogenically [that is, they
                clone
                > > themselves]. This resulted in an explosion the beetles couldn't
                keep up
                > > with.
                > >
                > > The above, although it resulted in a loss [still, some beans got
                > > harvested] it illustrates the do-nothing principles I'm talking
                about.
                > >
                > > We're looking at nature's self-organizing principle at work. For
                this to
                > > work there needs to be a lot of complexity Next week, the
                Agricultural
                > > Inspector will be coming for her annual visit to see if we are
                actually
                > > growing all the things we sell at the farmers market. On the
                forms required,
                > > I listed nearly 200 species--lumping, for the most part,
                varieties and
                > > colors together. This does not include the plants we don't sell
                but have set
                > > out and about for esthetic reasons and also as habitat for
                beneficials. Lots
                > > of shrubs here--brooms, acacias, privet and the champ of fast
                growth:
                > > butterfly bush. We have perhaps 30 oaks. [Jamie, a couple of
                these came from
                > > acorns you sent from France--thanks again.]. Mostly we have holly
                and cork
                > > oaks.
                > >
                > > I now have 2 sons that support themselves completely from their
                work on
                > > our little farm. I hold this up in support of the efficacy of our
                theory and
                > > our practice. One harvests and sells at the markets while the
                other works
                > > with me on production. How do they find their places, their
                niches, in the
                > > work on the farm? In the same way skunks find chicken pens and
                hollow
                > > logs--that is by the principles of self-organization. Or perhaps
                you could
                > > think of it as do-nothing management on my part.
                > >
                > > Sorry about a rather poor job of editing this. There's lots to do
                outside.
                > > But please visit our website for more about our work and read, if
                you're
                > > inclined, Dr. Lewis' important paper. Dr. Lewis and Mr. Fukukoka
                may not
                > > know of each other but if they met I suspect they'd find some
                common ground.
                > >
                > > Good wishes all,
                > >
                > > John Warner, Madera Whole Systems Agriculture near Fresno,
                California
                > > No-tractor, no tillage, permanent mulch market growers since 1996
                > > http://www.wholesystemsag.org
                > >
                > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                > >
                > >
                > >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > ---------------------------------
                > TV dinner still cooling?
                > Check out "Tonight's Picks" on Yahoo! TV.
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
              • Dieter Brand
                Gloria, Thanks for the Soil and Health Library Link. There seem to be a lot of interesting titles. I will download the Albrecht as soon as I can get to a
                Message 7 of 11 , May 19, 2007
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                  Gloria,

                  Thanks for the Soil and Health Library Link. There seem to be
                  a lot of interesting titles. I will download the Albrecht as soon
                  as I can get to a place with a faster Internet access.

                  I absolutely agree about the importance of soil organic matter,
                  especially if you combine it with a no-till system so as to keep
                  the organic web intact.

                  Dieter Brand
                  Portugal

                  "Gloria C. Baikauskas" <gcb49@...> wrote:
                  Dieter, Have you read Albrecht's, The Myth of Drought? It can be
                  read at http://www.soilandhealth.org

                  The more organic material you have in and on the soil the more
                  moisture the soil will hold.
                  Gloria, Texas



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                • michael
                  Same here. We eat more and more the things which have self seeded around from our original plantings of years/decades ago, mostly Asian and European species of
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jun 12, 2007
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                    Same here. We eat more and more the things which have self seeded
                    around from our original plantings of years/decades ago, mostly Asian
                    and European species of origin, not the hybrids of millennia, and
                    also many so-called weed plants. The daikon have reverted to their
                    wild form and need only thinning, by eating green of course. Some go
                    to seed and the young seed pods are eaten. The arugula is all over
                    the place, as is the shungiku and wild broccoli. I can't keep them or
                    the purslane out of the gravel driveway; not that i want to. Things
                    have spread to the orchard and for some reason the European alien
                    (sorry EU, that what the books call them) grasses are in decline as
                    the edible things increase. Who knows where this will all go but
                    after 25 years, OSR is looking more obvious. It takes a long time to
                    figure out how to do nothing.

                    On May 14, 2007, at 7:34 AM, Jamie Nicol wrote:

                    > So I now try not to dig beds at all, seed but not transplant, seed
                    > everything I can get my hands on, especially those that will reseed
                    > themselves annually, irrigate only when forced to by drought, leave
                    > no earth
                    > bare (both above ground and below), harvest a fraction of the plants
                    > growing, never weed by pulling (just cut the volunteer at the
                    > moment it
                    > flowers), return volunteer or unused crop to beds, use anything
                    > growing
                    > nearby as mulch for the beds, always leave volunteer leguminous plants
                    > (nitrogen fixing), leave some native leguminous trees or fruit
                    > trees or
                    > shrubs (trees are the prerequisite for a mediterranean natural
                    > agriculture)...
                    >
                    > do-nothing seems to me to be about giving up any control and
                    > beginning to
                    > play with nature. Not caring what grows (for if there are enough
                    > seeds,
                    > irrespective of the weather, the soil will be covered by growth), just
                    > casting seeds and watching what happens.



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Jamie Nicol
                    Dear michael, it s good to hear your thoughts after practicising so many years of doing nothing and that you find that One-Straw becomes more obvious as
                    Message 9 of 11 , Jun 13, 2007
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Dear michael, it's good to hear your thoughts after practicising so many
                      years of 'doing nothing' and that you find that 'One-Straw' becomes more
                      obvious as time passes. You mention purslane, which I forgot to mention in
                      my list, but is just about my favourite veg to eat and doesn't take any
                      space in the garden as, like you, it grows on the gravel track beside the
                      garden and requires (thrives) no intervention from me.
                      I have a video of Fukuoka speaking in India (thanks to Michiyo) where he
                      insists that there be no soil disturbance at all and that NF is nothing
                      other than casting seedballs. But, given enough seeds, I suspect that one
                      can do without the clay entirely (and letting plants go to seed and then
                      seed themselves is an excellent way of ensuring enough seed). All we need do
                      is return seeds to the land left bare of plants (and thus bare of seeds) and
                      the green will return.

                      And yes, this also means in droughty areas! Rain doesn't fall from the sky
                      but grows up from the ground.

                      Jamie
                      Souscayrous

                      On 6/12/07, michael <mdearing@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Same here. We eat more and more the things which have self seeded
                      > around from our original plantings of years/decades ago, mostly Asian
                      > and European species of origin, not the hybrids of millennia, and
                      > also many so-called weed plants. The daikon have reverted to their
                      > wild form and need only thinning, by eating green of course. Some go
                      > to seed and the young seed pods are eaten. The arugula is all over
                      > the place, as is the shungiku and wild broccoli. I can't keep them or
                      > the purslane out of the gravel driveway; not that i want to. Things
                      > have spread to the orchard and for some reason the European alien
                      > (sorry EU, that what the books call them) grasses are in decline as
                      > the edible things increase. Who knows where this will all go but
                      > after 25 years, OSR is looking more obvious. It takes a long time to
                      > figure out how to do nothing.
                      >
                      > On May 14, 2007, at 7:34 AM, Jamie Nicol wrote:
                      >
                      > > So I now try not to dig beds at all, seed but not transplant, seed
                      > > everything I can get my hands on, especially those that will reseed
                      > > themselves annually, irrigate only when forced to by drought, leave
                      > > no earth
                      > > bare (both above ground and below), harvest a fraction of the plants
                      > > growing, never weed by pulling (just cut the volunteer at the
                      > > moment it
                      > > flowers), return volunteer or unused crop to beds, use anything
                      > > growing
                      > > nearby as mulch for the beds, always leave volunteer leguminous plants
                      > > (nitrogen fixing), leave some native leguminous trees or fruit
                      > > trees or
                      > > shrubs (trees are the prerequisite for a mediterranean natural
                      > > agriculture)...
                      > >
                      > > do-nothing seems to me to be about giving up any control and
                      > > beginning to
                      > > play with nature. Not caring what grows (for if there are enough
                      > > seeds,
                      > > irrespective of the weather, the soil will be covered by growth), just
                      > > casting seeds and watching what happens.
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                      >
                      >


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